The Peloponnese is a peninsula which covers an area of some 21,549.6 sq. kilometres (8,320.3 sq. mi) in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Corinth Canal which was constructed in 1893 and where the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. It is also connected to the mainland by several bridges across the canal, including two submersible bridges at the north and the south end. Near the northern tip of the peninsula, there is another bridge, the Rio–Antirio bridge which was completed in 2004. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman rule, the peninsula was known as the Moreas, a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form. The peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions.
The peninsula has a mountainous interior and deeply indented coasts. The Peloponnese possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea, and the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese. Mount Taygetus in the south is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese, at 2,407 metres (7,897 ft). Other important mountains include Cyllene in the northeast, Aroania in the north, Erymanthos, and Panachaikon in the northwest, Mainalon in the center, and Parnon in the southeast. The entire peninsula is earthquake prone and has been the site of many earthquakes in the past. The longest river is the Alfeios in the west (110 km), followed by the Evrotas in the south (82 km), and also the Pineios, also in the west (70 km). Extensive lowlands are found only in the west, with the exception of the Evrotas valley in the south and in the Argolid in the northeast. The Peloponnese is home to numerous spectacular beaches, which are a major tourist draw.
Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, and the Ionian to the west. The island of Kythira, off the Epidaurus peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands. The island of Elafonisos used to be part of the peninsula but was separated following the major quake of 365 AD.
Since antiquity, and continuing to the present day, the Peloponnese peninsula is divided into seven major regions: Achaea (north), Corinthia (northeast), Argolis (east), Arcadia (center), Laconia (southeast), Messenia (southwest), and Elis (west). Each of these regions is headed by a city. The largest city is Patras in Achaia, followed by Kalamata in Messenia.
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